Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ouch

I still cannot get my vacation out of my head. Mexico was awesome. Everyone should go there and have $1 Margaritas. It is definitely the best way to break up the marathon training cycle. Really, having those cocktails with my husband while watching the sun set made me very happy.

The return to reality was rough last week. I ran here and there, and somehow, I managed to really hurt my back. Major ouch! I still cannot figure out for the love of the heavenly father what I managed to do. I have never had a back issue in my life.

Being the really smart person that I am, I decided to secretly take off Friday and Saturday and keep my lips buttoned. My husband thinks I overtrain (which I don't) and I knew he would put up some fierce opposition to my twenty miler on Sunday. However, I could share my pain with Leann. So, she tucked some advil into her coat pocket for our twenty miler on Sunday. That's what friends are for.

Sunday was a beautiful day to be out and running, a stark contrast to the flood that the Boston area is currently experiencing. Our L St runners were in full force, and we boarded the buses out to Natick. Dropping us off at the Armory, we set out on foot heading back to Southie. Ouch ouch and more ouch. At the first water stop, Leann told me to take the advil. I realized then that the only way I was making it back to Southie was by foot and I needed to just bite my lip and plow through it. For some reason, despite the pain, the run was awesome. I still have no clue, as it really did hurt.

Miss Smug that I am, I was psyched that I could run so far with the pain. I am paying severely for it now. Running just 6 on the treadmill at 7.3 today, tears flowed from my eyes because of the pain. I am now going to have to secretly take a few days off again. I have jinxed myself completely. I have said on numerous times that I just don't have the fire for the Boston torch this year, and now this nagging back is causing that flame to ignite.

Please pray to the heavens that it will get better. I promise that I will never say again that I am not excited to run Boston!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Less than One Month

Boston is less than one month away. Do I feel ready? Who knows? Race day always brings the unexpected, and sometimes one cannot worry about what will happen that day. In a way, this anticipating keeps me motivated.

Do I feel that I have followed my training? Yes! I was undertrained for the marathon in 2008, and I certainly do not have that fear this year. Marathon training takes commitment. Even when running doesn't seem appealing, we have to show up and be present. We endure and move forward.

My husband and I went to Puerto Vallarta last week, and I kept reminding myself of my fiasco in 2008 while I was there. Mexican treats beckoned, and I wanted to make sure that I had earned them. We arrived late on Thursday evening, so no workout that day due to a long day of travel. (We left Hingham at 4 AM!) On Friday, we set out to explore PV via foot and ran 6 1/2 miles or so.

Saturday morning, I woke around 6:30 AM and realized that while Bill was still sleeping, I had the opportunity to get in my long run. I told him I was off, and I headed down to the hotel gym. My plan was to run as much on the treadmill until he came to get me to finish the run outdoors. (I never felt unsafe in Mexico, but I was not sure if I should head out for a long run by myself.)I started on the treadmill, with an incline at 7.2 (8:19 pace). My hope was that I would get in an hour. The treadmill automatically stopped after 1 hour, and no husband in site. Oh well, I would just keep going. In the end, he never woke up, and I ran 16 miles on the treadmill in the gym at an ocean paradise while looking at myself in a mirror. Not ideal, but I did not want to keep doing loops in the actual property. I figured that doing that, I would receive more stares than I did while on the treadmill for that long. (And yes, I did receive many stares.)

On the treadmill for that long, there is so much time just to be. It was boring for sure, but a great way to clear my head. There is nothing like just using the miles to solve the problems of my little head. Peaceful afterwards, I truly enjoyed being present for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Catching Up

 

Wow,  I have lots of catching up to do with the blog.  After I ran the Newton Hills almost two weeks ago, I then revisited the course on  that next Sunday.  Our club, L Sthttp://lstreet.org, ran from the start line in Hopkinton to B.C., my alma mater two times over, for a total of 22 miles. 

View from the startline

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It was awesome.  My friend Jeff joined me, and we had both raced the Hyannis Half the weekend before.  Jeff killed it- he ran 1:37!  Thus, both of us were content to take it easy.  It was absolutely beautiful weather.  We have had a cold winter, and it was a day meant for running with beautiful sunshine and temperatures in the 50s.  Our pace ended up being about 8:30s, which was perfect and felt great.

 

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Here is Rich, Jeff and I somewhere in Natick.  Just an awesome day to run- can’t you tell by our outfits!  Well, my outfit says I think I am badass.  Really, what is going on with me there???

The next week I took a little easier running, and only ran about 37 miles, a step down from my 50+ of the week before.  It ended with an about 14 miler with Leann that we squeezed in before the torrential downpours that plagued Mass this weekend.

Here was the problem with us running together- we were the running wounded.  Leann has been struggling with sciatica, and it was really bothering her.  Then, at about mile 5, I took a digger.  One that caused Leann to turn around and say “Dear God!”  One that caused me to hurt my hip, scrape both hands, one elbow and a knee that were both covered with clothing.  Yet, we had to keep running.  We were out by ourselves, and there was no L St support to pick us up. I got up in tears and said, “Why do I always fall?”  Am I a klutz?  Is it my MS?  But, my knees are full of scars obtained by falling while running.  I don’t think Runner’s World is going to ask me to pose for their cover anytime soon….

Maybe it wasn’t our best run, but I certainly learned how to persevere during it.  It was a bit colder than we were dressed for, it hurt and it started raining at the end.   I wanted NO PART of being out there.  Unfortunately, marathon training is a metaphor for life in this way sometimes.  We don’t want to push through, but we carry on to the goal, even if it means struggles.

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, so it means one thing- green cupcakes!  I also plan on whipping up some Irish cream frosting to go with it.

 

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I also need to start packing as we are heading to Puerto Vallarta on Thursday.  Talk about struggling through a run- I have to figure out how to get in 16 miles while on vacation!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Gearing Up….

 

This week has been a super running week.  I have been able to sneak in 28 miles along with my Spin classes and yoga.  I hit my speed workouts on the treadmill, I have run outside is some great weather for early March, and I visited this guy.

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Most importantly, I feel fresh.  I just returned from  quick 2 mile jaunt with my yellow dog, and I wanted more.  I felt like I a bit cheated that we could not go further.  It is so beautiful in the Boston area today.  I would have ridden my bike, but I want to be very careful to set myself up for success tomorrow.

Tomorrow is an important dress rehearsal, my first 22 miler in this year’s training cycle.  I needed to take it easy today in preparation for this.  So, short run, dinner with lots of carbs tonight and a good night sleep.  I want tomorrow to be great, not good.  Only preparation will lead me to that.

 

 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Be Safe!

This week's sad story about Chelsea King has made me so sad. A young girl with so much promise has been taken from this world. My heart truly goes out to her family and friends.

Chelsea's story is a reminder of how vigilant that we women runners must be. Yes, many of think that we can fight off attackers. We run and take care of our bodies, and therefore we are strong. I know that I typically roll my eyes at my husband when he warns me to be stay safe as I head out the door alone. The sad outcome of Chelsea reminds me that I am vulnerable and must always be vigilant.

To honor Chelsea and her love of running, I will make an effort to be more careful. I will keep my cellphone with me at all times when I am out alone. I will always wear my reflective rest even when I think I can make it home before dark. I will make sure that my husband knows my route at all times. I will be more aware of my surroundings and not zone out into my music and my breath.

God Bless you Chelsea King. May you rest in peace. Please know that I will honor you with each step.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Hyannis Half Marathon Recap

Remember when you first started running and you wanted to go faster and farther? Do you remember the feeling that you wanted to be better? Well, that is exactly how I feel after this race. I don't feel like I left it all out there on the race course.... I don't feel like I gave it my all.

More of that later.... Here is the recap.

7:30 AM I met Courtney and Leann in the Derby St parking lot. Panera was open, and I totally wished I could get a Dutch Apple bagel. However, I realized that it was not in my stomach's best interest before a half. We left Hingham and then took the short trip down Route 3 to Hyannis.

I have run the half once before and the first leg of the relay last year, so I have some familiarity with the course. Based on the traffic, I think that the field might have grown even from last year. We were stuck in traffic, and some guy would not let us park where it SAID ON THE RACE WEB SITE THAT WE COULD. I appreciate race volunteers, and I pride myself on always saying thank you on the course. But, really! I then did what any proper lady would, turned out of the lot and parked in the one next to it instead of following his directions to head back out the road about a mile up. No thank you! My ladies and I did not need to add miles.

We were quite the stealth operation that day. We used the secret bathroom at the hotel, which I cannot reveal for then it will not be secret anymore. We sat in the car and kept warm. James, my work colleague, joined us. It was his first go at the half- he had never run a race that far before. I was so excited and nervous for him. I remember how I felt before I ran the New Bedford Half back in 2004.

Our little group headed out to the start line and got prepared. Like the good little kids that we are, we were in our corals before 9:50, as the instructions from the race clearly said. Most people decided not to be in the corals at this time, so we did not start until about 10:15. We were also pushed from the 8 min coral into the 10 minute one. Very annoying- the people who were late got to start up front. Why have a rule if you are not going to enforce it!

The first two miles were spent WASTING TOO MUCH ENERGY. Mile 1- 8:30 plus spent weaving and dodging slower runners. I am not a running snob- I promise. But, it was frustrating knowing that most of the people in front of me got to the start line race. I was still with Leann until mile 2, when by trying to stick with her, we ran a 7:25 mile. WAY TOO FAST! This was a complete beginner mistake that I should not be making. I realized this, and let her go. That fast mile had effects on my legs for the rest of the race though..... as did the eighty pound golden who decided to sleep on them the night before.

The rest of the race I tried to settle, and I pretty consistently ran between 8 and 8:10 miles. I was nervous about that fast 2nd mile, so I just went with the flow. Looking back, I am totally happy with my time- 1::46:19 and 8:06 pace. But, I am disappointed in myself a bit. I don't feel like I out down the hammer. I felt fine afterwards and not sore. I did not give it my all at the end.

Normally, I would not run the day after a race. Today though I needed to clear my head, and we experienced one of those late winter nights when spring is giving us a preview of its arrival with a brisk wind off the water and a slightly warmer temperature. I left Cisco, heading out to recap the race for myself. I need to not be so wimpy. I need to push when it hurts. I need to just go for it.